South Africa, Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand
May 4th, 1891
My Beloved Angee,
Welcome letter of March 26 came to hand on May day and brought as usual comfort to my heart, filling it with thankfulness to our gracious God and Father whose mercy and care over you all has been so great. I expect you will find it rather lonely to be at Greenclove[?] alone but I hope you may have found someone to have companion with you in your solitude. I will not try your patience much longer and shall be very glad to get home once more – I often mind that I could not endure the being away so long but being so much engaged keeps my mind occupied and God is very good to me in the many kind friends He gives me to find in my path. My business in Melbourne is limited to a few of the highest class merchants and this prevents my doing a large trade – I did more in Adelaide than I shall do here and even more in Western Australia. The labour question has done serious mischief with business generally in Victoria and the men who clamour for less hours and more pay are picking a rod for their own backs. In Queensland too here is a serious state of things, the "shearers" demanding more wages who are already getting 20/- a day and want to tyranise[sic] over their masters as to how they shall manage their own business. In America too there is the same trouble – the working men there have succeeded in their demand for 8 hours a day but in the face of a limited supply of labour for each man which they supposed would increase the demand for more men, the thing has worked out in the very opposite way and today thousands are out of work and then they demand of the Government that they undertake public works so as to give them employment and this necessitates them continually raising new loans.
Mail day has come again and with the usual pressure in correspondence. I was hoping to have finished my work in Melbourne by today and to have left for New Zealand but have been baffled and must now wait another week – I therefore purpose going to Geeling a few hours steam along the coast and returning here again. The business visiting keeps me very busy I assure you – I go to see the saints every evening and generally at their expressed wish – I mean those who are still in the old meeting but troubled at the new things they are constantly hearing. Many are getting clear indeed are quite decided in refusing the new doctrine as contrary to the Scripture are withdrawing. Mr Stewart is pretty well played out here and very few of those still in his meeting will receive his ministry. He keeps up in fine style too here with a house at £100 a year rent and three servants. The last collection made for him in all the meeting amounted to £10 and one brother gave half that and held the question up to the brethren in division – was that all.
Some evenings I get in peaceful waters, sometimes in very stormy. Many will tell you boldly that they have not got eternal life as we have always supposed we had – it is another kind of thing altogether to what we had supposed – i.e. a new spiritual life – born of God – it is not that in Mr Raven's theory and his pupils – Gen. Haig especially tells it out in plain language not to be misunderstood. It is no more Christianity than Buddhism is – at any rate that is my conviction and I am not alone.
The telegrams from the continent of Europe seem very serious – this Eight hours question with the working men appears to be giving great trouble in many parts and capitalists may well fear to invest in any undertakings where labour is much a consideration. It is really another form of rebellion and what an awful scene this poor world would be but for a government to restrain this lawlessness. Surely the moment is near when God's blood bought blood washed family will be taken out of it and then the God whose longsuffering has waited over it so long will speak in judgment.
I hardly know what to advise in reference to the house but if you can stay for another year in Mr Cranwallers[?] I think it will be better to do so and we can then arrange matters on my return. On the other hand I leave your dear hands quite free to give Mr Seldon notice and to change as soon as convenient if you think well. If we must leave the present house I should prefer to live in one of our own and it would not be so troublesome to shift the things a few doors as to remove it to another town and I like Barnstaple as a town – I doubt not God will give us in His mercy to find a few friends in it. I do not want to put the burden of the work upon your shoulders connected with a removal and if you do contemplate an early change and Mr S. will quit the tenancy, do get thoroughly competent help so as not to be killing yourself with it.
The Lord graciously guide us aright in this as in all else – He loves us and cares for us whatever the Greek word may be for love and care I shall stick to what the plain English words convey to my heart as it doubtless will seem to the learned theologians of the new school.
I must now bring my rather short letter to a close and with much love to your dear self and to all our dear children and any enquiring friends believe me my beloved Angee.
Being very affectionate Husband
Very thankful to hear that Arundel is busy at his factory.